Book puts Pak Lah back in spotlight

Book puts Pak Lah back in spotlight
Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (seated), accompanied by his wife Jeanne, chatting with Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his wife Noorainee Abdul Rahman.

MALAYSIA - Since stepping down as Malaysia's fifth prime minister in April 2009, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has kept a low profile.

That is not surprising perhaps, seeing that he was hounded out of office by his own party leaders.

He has not interfered in how his successor Najib Razak runs the country, a marked contrast from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who constantly harangued the Abdullah administration and today still makes public comments about how he thinks Umno and the country should be run.

As Tun Abdullah says in an interview in a new book that has set tongues wagging: "From the experience I went through, I knew it would not be fair if I were to interfere with Najib because I want him to establish himself as the Prime Minister...

"That is why I have remained silent all this time. I believe that once you retire, you are retired."

His most recent major public engagement was when he campaigned for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno in his home state of Penang during the run-up to the May 5 general election.

It was at these campaign stops that his current standing in Malaysian politics was most evident.

He would arrive at BN campaign centres with police outriders - a sign that Umno's top leadership has made its peace with him - but the turnout was dismal.

Pak Lah, as the 73-year-old is popularly known, just does not possess the grassroots appeal Dr Mahathir has in abundance.

These days, he has few public engagements, an aide says.

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